tv Lectures in History CSPAN July 1, 2014 9:35pm-10:56pm EDT
senate historian donald ritchie on the congressional debate and passage of the bill with former cvs correspondent roger mudd. and at 9:25 p.m. eastern, a talk with the author of two presidents, two parties and the battle for the civil rights act of 1964. >> author alan huffman shares a tale of two mississippis as we visit prospect hill in jackson. >> well, prospect hill was founded by isaac ross who was a revolutionary war veteran from south carolina. and when he realized that he was going to die and the slaves would end up being sold or would just become common slaves, he wrote in his will that at the time his daughter's death that plantation would be sold and the money used to pay the way for the slaves to emigrate to liberia where the freed slave colony had been established by the american colonization. they call it repatriation.
they talk about them going back to africa. but you have top understand these people, most of them, they were americans. they have been here for three, four, five generations. so it wasn't like they were just going home. they were going back to the continent that their ancestors originally inhabited. it was quite the risk. and so they took their culture, what they knew here there. some of them took the bad aspects, too. the slavery, but that was all they had ever known. and they built houses like this one because after all, they're the ones who built this house. there were a lot of, basically, greek revival houses that the freed slaves built in mississippi and africa and across the river was louisiana and liberia which was settled by freed slaves from louisiana. there was a georgia, there was a virginia, a kentucky, and
maryland county. and all of those people came from those states in the u.s. >> explore the history and literary life of jackson this weekend saturday at noon eastern on c-span 2's booktv and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span 3. >> the privacy and civil liberties oversight board releases a report wednesday on the collection of electronic communications under the fisa law. we'll bring you at 10:00 a.m. sunday on c-span. >> book tv sat down with former secretary of state hillary clinton in little rock to discuss her new book, hard choices. >> getting to the point where you can make peace is never easy because you don't make peace with your friends, you make it with people who are your adversaries who have killed those you care about, your own people or those you're trying to protect.
you have to get into the heads of those on the other side. you have to change their calculation enough to get them to the table. i talk about iran, we have to get them to the table and we'll see what happens, but that has to be the first step. and i write about what we did in afghanistan and pakistan, trying to get the taliban to the table for a comprehensive discussion with the government of afghanistan. well, in iraq today, what we have to understand is that it is primarily a political problem that has to be addressed. the asengs of the sunni extremists is taking advantage of the breakdown in political dialogue and the total lack of trust between the maliki government, the sunni leaders,
and the kurdish leaders. >> more with hillary clinton saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern and sunday morning at 9:15 on c-span 2's book tv. >> now, american history tv in prime time features a lecture on egypt on the origins of al qaeda. this is part of a class taught by juan cole, professor of history at the university of michigan in ann arbor. this is an hour 20 minutes. >> all right. well, welcome, everybody. we're going to talk about the roots of al qaeda terrorism today. of course, this is a complex subject. and i'm going to focus specifically on its roots in modern egypt. that's a topical subject. in the past -- in the past few months, the military government of egypt has abruptly declared
the muslim brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. this is a stark reversal of its fortunes. because in the summer of 2012 after the revolution of hosni mubarak, morsi won. so in from summer of 2012 until summer of 2013, not only was the muslim brotherhood not a terrorist organization, it was the government of the country. and now, all of a sudden, it's a terrorist organization. so this is, you know, makes your head spin, the redefinition of politics in this post, revolution period. but the roots of these attitudes toward the muslim brotherhood. and of the brotherhood's own, i
think, political mistakes go back in 20th century egyptian history. egypt was invaded by britain in 1882. it was just a colony. and there was a british -- one of the longer lasting one was lord chromer. and they ran egypt kind of as a cotton farm to produce cotton for british factories and for the benefit of the british as you might expect. they didn't do anything about spreading mass competition or literacy in egypt. he thought it was a stupid idea. he said we did that in india and
they formed a communist party and started to try to kick us out. we won't make that mistake in egypt. and the british in egypt faced some severe difficulties having to do with their management of the country's resources. and world war i was a difficult period economically because of the fighting in the mediterranean theater. there were disruptions of food supplies. there was a drought, there was substantial hunger in the middle east in this period. and some of that got blamed on the british. now, during world war i, the empire which ruled -- had ruled most of the middle east, some parts of the middle east had been taken over by the british or the french, but much of the middle east was ruled by the
ottoman empire. and threw in with the austrians and germans during the world war. that made them the enemy of the british and the french, and ultimately the americans. we historians widely consider this ottoman joining of the war to have been a mistake. and they were defeated. and when they were defeated, the victors add versailles carved up the turkey. and so, the british got iraq, syria went to the french. and so you had -- you had a new
wave of colonialism in the near east. that was provoked by the victories of world war i. and unlike in europe where the empire broke up into hungary and austria and where president woodrow wilson argued for 14 points and self-determination for the -- for the populations that came out of the war. the 14 points and self-determination were not applied to the middle east. and at the time, there was a kind of colonial, european sense of superiority. the rhetoric was one of -- of the juvenilization of the people of the middle east.
so the -- the settlements that were made after world war i at versailles assumed people in the middle east were kind of like, you know, they were adolescents. they were 15. you know, not ready for a driver's license. so the british and the french would adopt them as wards and would grow them up to the point where eventually maybe they could have their own countries. and suave, sophisticated iraqis and palestinians and syrians, some of whom had studied in paris and berlin were outraged to be treated in this way. and the iraqis actually staged a revolt over it, which the british put down. so the other thing that happened when they -- the powers aboli abolished the ottoman empire, the sultans in the late 19th
century and early 20th century had begun trying to deploy some soft power against the encroachments of the europeans into their territory. and one of the forms of soft power that they had was that the sultan of the ottoman empire was the leader of the muslim community. and at the time, you know, presided over the holy cities of islam. and so the sultan started claiming to be not only sultans, not only emperors, but also kalifs, and this idea of a renewed -- because they're kind of like muslim popes or sunni/muslim popes. this idea of a renewed caliphate, i don't think people bought it, but some did. but with the defeat of the
ottomans and the rise of the secular republic of turkey after the war, the turkish parliament abolished the sultan and caliphate. so became the french model and place in it for a muslim pope. but for a certain segment of the muslim community, the end of the caliphate was a huge disaster because it meant that there was no point of unity or authority for -- for the generality of muslims anymore. and they were divided up into these small, small colonies and mandates and ultimately nation states by the europeans. so there was a theory that, you know, the end of the caliphate was the end of muslim power. and this theory that the -- and
there were conspiracy theorys. the british were the ones who put the turks up to abolishing the caliphate. this kind of thinking has survived as a minority opinion. because the vast majority, i think, of sunni muslims are happy with their nation states and to have the religion organized along nation state lines sort of just as protestantism and christianity is now largely organized on the lines of the nation state. you have the swedish lutheran church. it was the same thing with sunni-islam. you have the religious authority in egypt. and in jordan and so forth. but there is a minority of muslims, and there has been for nearly 100 years now who really, really thinks you need the caliphate back. and al qaeda, the extremist organization is among those that wants the caliphate back.
and osama bin laden gave a speech after the attacks of september 11th in which he actually said that, you know, we destroyed amongst the greatest of their buildings and we have visited upon them some of the calamities for the last 80 years. and at the time, a lot of people kind of asked themselves, well, what have we been doing to the muslims for the last 80 years? but, he was referring to the 1924 abolition of the caliphate. so -- those muslims who took the ottoman claim to religious authority and not just political authority seriously, you know, wondered, can you be a proper sunni/muslim without a proper pope-like figure? and the more secular minded intellectuals in egypt actually
wrote books in which they upheld that, yeah, sure, you know. islam, complicated religion, you pray, you fast. why would you need a caliphate ? they argued that it was protectly all right to be a sunni muslim without a central source of religious authority of that sort. as i said, there were conservatives who wanted it, a caliphate back. and i think this discussion about religious authority and its place in the modern world after world war i fed into the creation in 1928 of the muslim brotherhood in the egyptian port town, it was founded by a young man at the time named hasa hasan al-banna who was a watch maker. but was, you know, fairly well
educated in a contemporary arabic sense didn't know much about the outside world or foreign languages or so forth. but he, from his point of view and from the point of view of many conservatives in egypt, egypt had been robbed. it had been robbed of its heritage, of its culture, of its laws by that period of british rule. and he said well why would our form of government, our personal status laws, why would those have been made in london? what's london got to do with us? we're here on the nile. and we've been muslims for, well at the time it would have been 1300 years or so. so why, why would these british christians come here and tell us how to organize ourselves? and so al-banna wanted to push
back against the british shaping of modern egypt. and he engaged in what i would say as a his or it -- historian in a certain amount of row the man sizization of the past because he had this idea that in the past, muslim societies had existed that were ruled by muslim law. and just as roman catholicism has cannon law, islam has an elaborate legal apparatuses coming out of the sacred text the kuran and replace british law with it. that's going back to how they behaved in the past. but while one would argue that
islamic law wasn't important in the past, in my view, this particular kind of lattice work of islamic law that al-banna had in mind was a minority affair in muslim world in premodern times. it was something that the muslim clerks, they were invested in, but much law was customary, laws were made by governors, but secular rulers, and the ottoman empire, in the empire, the sultan, the emperor was recognized as a legislator. and this was a prerogative that went back to central asia and the mongul tradition that the chief of the tribe would issue laws. so they issued, the ottoman's issued laws and those laws that they issued often touched upon
areas of life that were also touched upon by islamic law, and they didn't always coincide. the ottoman would sometimes issue a law that didn't bare any relationship to islamic law. it wasn't the case that there was this ideal society in the past ruled by this kind of, i would say fundamentalist understanding of what islamic understanding it. understandings of law change over time. and what things you emphasize and so forth are different over time. and again, al-banna tended not to recognize this. now when the muslim brotherhood began and started to get off the ground and it was moved to cairo in 1930. it came out of egyptians traditions of spear chul wallty including what is called
suffism. mysticism is about the warm heart about a sense of getting a feeling of unity with the devine beloved, and mystics in cairo would meet on thursday evenings at a mosque and they would chant together, and these things, you know, were frowned upon by some more conservative muslims. but the brotherhood originally wasn't coming out of saudi arabia kind of tradition which, which condemned the idea of saints and intersession and noncanon call kind of rituals. the brotherhood was rich in islam tradition and it wasn't a sufi order, but some of its emphases came out of that tradition. over time i think it became more literalist and less mystical.
now al-banna was the leader of this organization. and it grew. it grew quite rapidly through the 30s and 40s -- 30's and 40's. it was mainly at that time, ironically enough because things changed later, but at that time, it was mainly a, an urban organization. it was especially popular with the urban lower middle classes. they were either artisans or workmen of various sorts. it was said back in the 40's if you have really a lot of trouble finding a plumber in cairo, like joining the muslim brotherhood and you'll never want for a plumber. and then there were people who joined who had an education of a
modern sort, but in arabic. they didn't know french or english, but they weren't, they weren't lacking for an education. and many of those joined. and as the movement grew, it was an authoritarian movement. you weren't allowed to be in the muslim brotherhood and say publicly well this idea about x, it's a limit loony toons. you'd be thrown out. not only thrown out if you defied the authority structures of of this organization, but the memoirs that i've read. social control mechanism of some religious groups, there's some peace churches in the united states that engage in shunning
and so shunning is like people just stop talking, we were best friends and over at their house, and they'll just cut you off without a further by your lease. and not only cut you off, but they might cut off anybody insisting on remaybing in touch with -- remaining in touch with you. and the shunning is again, it's a sign of a controlling kind of organization, and i would say in my definition, it's a cult-like behavior. and the word cult is controversial in social science because some sociologists of religion consider it pa jortive and want top avoid it so they talk about new religious movements. i in social science, you can always use a word as long as you define it properly. and i define a cult as an
organization that's characterized by high demands for obedience. and commitment of time and resources. on the one hand. and by relatively distinctive believes and -- believes and practices, the mainstream society on the other. if you knew somebody who believed weird things and acted strangely, then you might not spend a lot of time with them. and so they'll be off on their own. and then if they also, you know, get a message from their supreme leader that they have to do the x because my leader told me to, again, that's isolating. and the more isolated they are, the more easy they are to manipulate and likely to obey
the leader and some point. and they're afraid they'll lose all their friends and so forth. so, i see the cult as a sociological formation, a set of social control mechanisms, characteristic of some religious organizations and also i think some political organizations are cult-like in the way that they arrange things. the brotherhood had an emphasis from its beginning on social reform. it founded schools, it had you know classes for women, and it had womens august zil ri, and its message was a kind of religious egyptian nationalism. so the british influence on egypt had been pernicious. egypt was poor and frankly they
would have said, you know, not a danced or backward because it had been kept back by people like lord kromer. literacy rates were low, most people were poor, and, but they would blame all that on the british form of government in egypt. and i have to say as a historian, they would have been completely wrong about that. there wasn't any substantial industrialization in egypt under the british, literacy rates were kept low deliberately and so on and so forth. and so that message of egyptian nationalism, but with inflected by a religious sense. resinated with a lot of people. and there are all kinds of estimates, you know, we don't have good social science statistics for mid-20th century
egypt, but my best guess is by the late 40s, they were probably half a million or so muslim brothers in egypt, or muslim brethren, because they were men and women, that this was in a population of 16, 17 million at the time. so that's a very significant group. and if you remember that they are mainly urban, then it's even more significant because they're a high proportion of urban population. at the time, most were rural. now, in the 1940s was the first time that we have proof of the brotherhood developing a terrorist wing. up until that point, it seemed to be, you know, a typical movement of religious reform. in 1942, because of world war ii
and the british fears of the italians and the ultimately the germans in libya and the possibility that the access might try to take the suez canal and it might even try go further east and get iraqi and iranian petroleum, because of the war wft allies in world war ii, the british thought it was important, i mean, it's not what they called it, but more or less they reoccupied egypt. they recolonized it. so they just installed a government favorable to them in 1942 and they, they then sent a lot of troops. a lot of austrailians and new zealanders among others.
and the egyptians again, you know were in this period of discovering themselves and somewhat nationalistic and the idea of having all these foreign troops suddenly in their country and having government switched out by british imperial decree was very distasteful to the nationalists and the religious nationalists among them and including the muslim brotherhood. so the brotherhood hated this period of reimposition of british presence in egypt. reminded them of all the things they hadn't liked from 1882 to 1922. in addition to which, during world war i, the british had issued the ball four declaration which argued for a jewish homeland in palestine and when the british conquered palestine and was awarded to the british as a mandate by the league of
nations, the british opened it to jewish immigration, mainly at that time from europe and russia. the british balfur declaration said it would not inconvenience the palestinians. so, you know, this policy was a mishmash and destined to cause all kinds of trouble which of course it did. the muslim brotherhood among all egyptian political forces was most invested in stopping this pros. and during the '30s, an kpmpl of how history looking different upon where you are in the world. during the '30s with the rise of the fascists in europe and a
very anti-semitism which, you know, began with people being fired from their jobs then you had crystal meth, then the attack on jewish shops in germany, and ultimately then in the '40s the holocaust. so from the point of view of world jew ri and the 1930s and of anybody who cared about human rights was really important that some place be found that they could escape to from these predators. and the british having made these pledges in the balfur declaration opened palestine to jewish declaration, although not steadily because there was pushback from the palestinians and it changed over time. but from the point of view of the palestinian population and
their supporters like the muslim brotherhood. there were foreigners coming in, it was like from their point of view, illegal aliens and taking jobs and taking land and displacing people. and so the brotherhood not only was upset about egypt being more or less reopened by the british, but also upset that the same british were displacing or menacing their palestinian brethren. and there were actually muslim brothers who went and fought as volunteers in 1948 when war broke out between the israelis and the palestinians. so during the '40s, the brotherhood leadership appears to have decided that this was, the situation was intolerable, they would get the british right back out of egypt and they would do so by terrorism.
and by terrorism i mean a political tactic of putting pressure on people politically. by engaging in violence, including, especially violence against non-combatants, against civilians. and in the '90s, at least this was in the u.s. federal code, this definition of terrorism. it's a non-state group. it's a group that just like appointed themselves, right. nobody elected them, they don't have any particular standing web and they decide to deploy violence to get their political project through, and the violence that they deploy is, is deployed against non-dpat tants, against civilians. so they developed training camps in the desert, the egyptian desert leading to libya was
isolated and had smuggling routes and so forth. that was a great place to put a training camp. they taught young men how to deal with dynamite, thousand make a timer, detonator, all those sorts of things. how to use a rifle. and they began then staging attacks inside egypt, inside cairo, and alexandria, and elsewhere on a british soldiers, on egyptian officials and on jewish shops because at the time, egypt had a small, but substantial jewish population and they were targeted by the brotherhood. now, at the time that this was happening, it was not known who was behind these incidents. and it was a judge in alexandria and a case came to him of a altercation between a british sailor and an egyptian and he ruled for the sailor for the
foreigner, and the brotherhood like shot him dead. it wasn't known who was doing this, and it just looked like well there's a lot of crime these days. there's incidents. but the british, you know, had a pretty good intelligence system and the british archive there began to be suspicions that there was an organized group behind this. and so then in the fall of 1948, a car or a jeep was driving erratically with two young men in it, and the police stopped them and they searched the car and the glove compartment, they found documents from the brotherhood instructing them to carry out operations. and then there was like explosives in the trunk. so this was a smoking gun, they finally realized there's something in the brotherhood
that's directed this stuff. and it was called the organization within the brotherhood that was involved in the terrorist operation was called the secret apparatuses, or the secret service. and hadn't been known what was being secret at all. but now it came to light of day. and immediately as he understood this, prime minister muhammad in egypt outlawed the muslim brotherhood. now the thing i want to emphasize here is that most muslim brethren didn't know about the secret apparatus and weren't involved in terrorism. so the brotherhood was kind of like the layers of an onion. there were people on the outside of it who were sympathizers, then people closer called helpers, and, you know, strict inherents, and people around
al-banna, the inside circle and on the way inside beyond anybody's preview was then the secret apparatus. so the people on the outside, again you know they thought this is a nice organization, it makes schools and it has meetings and it's for egyptian independence and so forth. they didn't necessarily know. and i've had students come up in my class after this lecture and say my grandparents were members of the brotherhood, they weren't terrorists. that's almost certainly true. the terrorist ring of the brotherhood was a very small and specific group of people. but it seems to be impossible that hasan al-banna didn't know about it. the organization had a dual aspect. it had a terrorist wing, but also had a civilian wing.
and there are many organizations like that, you know, not an analogy here, but in the '80s, the irish republican army conducted violent operations in england, and yet there was a shinfane was the political wing. and when negotiations began, it was be, it was with the political wing. so having a political wing and a violent wing of a movement of that sort is not unusual. and i mean to say nothing about, you know, the rights or the wrongs of the situation in northern ireland. i'm simply giving the structure of the thing, and that was true of the brotherhood as well. when he forbade the brotherhood late in the that year, a brotherhood member assassinated him, killed him.
and this is a really big event. the sitting prime minister of a major middle eastern country was assassinated by this group, or at least by a member this group. and early in 1949, al-banna was standing outside the ymca in cairo and was killed. so these events are a little shadowy, but i presume that the egyptian secret police took revenge on al-banna for the assassination by rubbing him out. then the brotherhood is driven underground, it's an underground organization. and people have to stop meeting and deny they ever had anything to doed with it and so forth. 1952, young officers in egypt made a coup against the regime.
the parliamentary regime in egypt was kind of game of big landlords, they had huge haciendas, cotton farms on which the pesants work, extremely inequal society, a few thousand families on the good land. parliament was the big game, who was in parliament was the big landlords. of a few small industrialists and so forth. it was the elite. and much of the country were pesant sharecroppers or people without any power at all. and then this top elite was financially accused of corruption, and so the young officers made a coup. they felt they were betrayed in 1949 by the egyptian government because it had sent them to fight in the israel palestine war and had given them
substandard equipment because of corruption, they sold off the good stuff. some of them, and hadn't backed them properly. there was a lot of resentments in the officer core about the government. and then there was popular resentment, about his continued ties. because this government that existed in 1952 was still the same government that had been kind of put in by the british in '42, the waft party. there were riots in cairo in winter of '52, and in fact some of the city was burned over continued british, the continued british presence in the suez canal zone because the british owned the suez canal and had been an egyptian project in the 19th century, but in 1976, the british brought it for a song because the egyptian government
had become very, very deeply in depth to european bondholders and needed to sell off assets. so egyptian nationalists really minded that the suez canal was not british, it was not egyptian, that it was british, and they wanted to push the british back out of it. and there were riots about that. so the officers made a coup in 1952. and initially these young officers you know they had no grassroots. of a particular sort. and they, they banned political parties, but they were looking around for some group and society that might, you know, be reliable and be able to mobilize people and would support them. so initially they exempted the muslim brotherhood from their ban. they didn't athrow to operate as a political party, but they kind of lifted the prohibition on it and let it operate.
well, it appears to be the case that the brotherhood, some of the brotherhood took this situation not with a sense of relief that okay now we can organize again and the ban against us is dropped, but they were ambitious, and they said well gee, the officers made a coup and came to power, maybe that's what we should do. so they in 1954, muslim brother attempted to assassinate the leader of the military revolutionary command council. this was an unfortunate event for many reasons, for the brotherhood in particular, there may have been members of the brotherhood that didn't know about this. wouldn't have been in favor of it, but the particular people
who carried it out brought a great deal of -- badness on the wheel movement. moreover the attempt failed. so then the full rath of nasser was visited object muslim brotherhood. mass arrests, trials, people were jailed and some were tortured. it was a military government, so trying to kill the leader of it and then failing resulted in extremely unfortunate consequences. in the mid-'60s, nasser releesd most of these -- released most of the prisoners from brotherhood from prison. one memoir said that immediately they started talking about how
could they kill nasser. so there were members of the group who seemed not to have learned from their experiences. and one of the members who wasn't released and who was kind of idiolog of the more extreme wing of the muslim brotherhood was qutb. he developed a theory while he was in prison of the non-muslim state. sop he said you know abde abdel nasser, that seems like a muslim name. and there were a lot of people in government that seemed to have muslim names, but then they're jailing and torturing the real muslims who are the muslim brotherhood. how could that be? how could one muslim do that to
another muslim? and the easy answer is, they're not really muslims. if they're behaving that way. and he didn't bring up anything about, you know, like the brotherhood trying to kill nasser. he saw this as an unjustified persecution of the true believers. so he developed this theory which is in arabic is called tacfir of getting people who claim to be muslims, ex-communicating them if you will. this is not, this practice is not approved of in the tradition of sunni-islam and sunni law. sunni islam developed as a big tent tradition. so there were groups in early islam that, you know, in technical islam drinking alcohol is forbidden, and there were
groups who said that somebody who drank habitually was not a muslim. would get thrown out of community. but this sunni-muslim point of view on the whole by and large was that does someone claim to be a sunni muslim, from a sunni-muslim family and do they drink? do they tipple? well then they're a bad muslim. not that they're not muslim, just bad muslims. you find among the great sunni jurorists, one after another says that takfir or declaring someone not a muslim, we don't approve of. it would have to be an extreme case and so forth. but qutb went against that sunni tradition with an extremist view where he declared almost everybody who thought they were sunni-muslims to be not really
muslim. and only, you know, the people who thought like him were actually. and moreover, he had taken on a lot of id logical baggage, he uses the word vanguard, he thinks the muslims need a vanguard just as the learnenists did. there is no longer any muslim state, there's a capitolist state, soviet, communist state in the soviet union, but no muslim state anymore, there hasn't been for hundreds of years. so that's his goal is to emulate communism to make islam like communism, a political ideology to have vanguards, and he uses explicitly marks his terminology in this regard and take the thing over and makes an islamic state and to implement a kind of fundamentalist version of muslim law, and to declare people who
don't go along with this to be not muslims and then, you know, if you claim to be a muslim and you're not a muslim, among some medieval jurorist this is apostsi and to be a capital crime. some of what he's implying is not only not muslims, but they should be killed. well, you know, the sue my muslim authority in egypt recoiled from this theory and denounced it, and even the brotherhood, the mainstream of the brotherhood leadership denounced it. nasser alleged that said dwrks utb was part of a -- qubt was part of a conspiracy and had him executed. whether he was part of a conspiracy or not, i don't know. the official egyptian newspaper descriptions of the conspiracy are not plausible, had something to do with connecting with the
soviets and i don't know if extreme muslims at that time probably were very close to moscow, and i think he visited him in cairo in 1964, that didn't make any sense to me. but he was executed and he became a marker to other extremists in egypt. sort of you could make an analogy maybe to, you know, what happened at waco in the 1990s when this cult was accused of stockpiling arms and ultimately was taken down by u.s. officials for the far, far right in the united states. they became martyrs and refer their, refer their -- there were further terrorists attacks in their name. in 1970, another change of government. nasser died in 1970 and he was
succeeded by sadat. he was a man of the right. he liked free enterprise on capitalism, he thought the united states was the real superpower and wanted to dump the soviets and go over to washington. and when he first got into power he was surrounded by leftists who would have been appalled, there was a joke that sadat, whenever he was in a taxi he would instruct the taxi driver to signal left and then turn right. and he, as nasser had in 1952 was looking around for some group and society that might support his shift of egypt away from the socialists model because, you know, something like half the economy was in government hands, and the egyptian military was supplied by the soviets. and it was, it was really, you
know, a junior member of the east block in a way egypt at that point. he wanted to shift it to the right, and he needed, he needed some support in broader society. and who would be anti-communists, anti-left, might support sadat in this enterprise would be the muslim brotherhood. so he makes up with them. he lets them mostly out of jail. he lets them have a news letter, lets them organize on college campuses, in fact he encourages them to organize on college campuses. and tries to rehabilitate the brotherhood as, you know, a right-wing political group that would support his change in policies. and to be fair, a lot of muslim brothers were tired of being in jail and tortured and being on the outs, and they welcomed this opportunity. so they weren't recognized as a political party, but they, when sadat brought back parliament in the late '70s and through the
'80s they understand sadat's successor, they would contest elections for parliament under party rubrics. it would be known that somebody was a muslim brother, but they would run for parliament. and so they learned to campaign, and they, their leadership kind of made a pact with the egyptian government. we won't commit terrorism, we won't try to kill anymore leaders, we won't blow things it up. on the one hand, and you won't persecute us and you'll let us have a few members of parliament and have a position in society. that was a bargain that sadat initiated with the muslim brother. i think on the whole by and large, it helped. oe kalgs -- occasionally the government would persecute them and put them in jail and so forth. and, but on the other hand, they had a long game. they were thinking over the next decades and they didn't want to the go back to being considered
a terrorist group, so by and large, i think they, they reformed themselves and became a political and social force because they did a lot of cherokee work, a lot of help in soup kitchens and helping with the poor and so forth and took up some of the slack that the government wasn't involved in at that point. and so i think it was a very unstable bargain in some ways, but it was, it was a bargain, and the brotherhood in my view, you know, for the next decades adhere to it. now it may be that some kind of secret apparatus continued to exist. and it may be that the inner core of the muslim brotherhood, you know, hadn't become european liberals. i don't know. these things are kind of of
difficult, difficult to tell because they don't, people involved in secret activities don't usually spill them. but at the fringes of the brotherhood, as it became more active and it spread around these ideas that the real, the good society should be what they considered to be an islamic society, women should be vailed and -- veiled and that islamic law should determine a personal status law and other laws, there were young people on campuses, in small towns who em bide these messages from the brotherhood, weren't necessarily brotherhood members, they were kind of fellow travelers, but who didn't have that long experience that the brotherhood leadership had had of coming into violent conflict with the government and trying to overthrow it and then being thrown in jail and
tortured and so forth, and who were impatient. who said, why are these old guys you know sucking up top sadat when he's pursuing policies similar to muslim interest? and so there were radicals at the fringes. and when, and there was a basic contraction in sadat's policies, because on the one hand, he unleashed the muslim right in egypt. and he did that i think mainly for economic reasons, muslim right was all about free enterprise. those guys weren't allowed to be part of the socialists sector, they wouldn't be allowed to be appointed a manager of a state factory. they had to be sberper ins and shop -- entrepreneurs and shopkeepers and so forth. and they would support sadat's attempt in the '70s to shift egypt towards a more capitalist
economy, but on the level of geopolitics. he wanted to make up with the united states, and the brotherhood didn't like the united states. and sadat realized he had to have a peace treaty with israel. and there was no group in egyptian society that hated israel more than most of the muslim brothers. in fact, morrissy who later became president in 2012 got his start in political organizing in the delta in rural egypt as a member, a group that had anti-zionist in its name. the grass roots organization of the brotherhoods very pro-palestinian and anti-israel. so sadat when he made peace with israel, he angered this fringe. not of the brotherhood itself
maybe, but of groups in its or by the. -- orbit. one of the groups that merged in the '70s and became tabloid fauder in egypt and they withdraw from society. this name was not their own, it was given by the egyptian press, but, you know, they would attract young people and marry them off to other members without their parents knowing about it or their permission. they would discourage them from contacting their families and they would, some of them would go abroad and work and send back remittances, and the others would like live in furnished apartments, it was kind of a come unikind of thing -- commune kind of thing. they became much more sinister
was the egyptian islamic jihad which was two separate groups but over time they cooperated with each other, which also founded in the 1970s and 1977, and i was in cairo at the time, and i remember this 80 members were arrested with explosives. this is a flashback to 1948, right? then one of their members, wrote a pamphlet about the lapse duty because there were five pillars of islam, praying, and fasting, and so forth, he said there's a sixth pillar that's been neglected which is jihad. which is fighting what he considered holy war. and i mean this is not again, it's not the sunni tradition. first of all, jihad in that sense is not even found in the
koran. it means fighting for it. it's a later development, this idea of jihad, just as crew saids was a later development in christianity. not in the new testament. and, so that's one. second of all, not only is it not a pillar, but in classicalist islamic law there are two kind of religious duties on an individual. there are individual duties, so like prayer, everybody has to pray, that's an individual duty. you can't escape it. you can't say well my friend prayed so i don't have to, it's an individual duty. then there are collective duties. there are things that the muslim community has to get done that somebody has to do. but not every single individual would necessarily be involved in that. and defending the community because most, most theorizing about jihad and holy war and so
forth, ultimately views it as defensive in character, although there were medieval thinkers who promoted a kind of aggressive view of it. but in any case, defending the muslim community was a collective duty, and who would carry it out would be determined by the leaders of the community. so this vigilanteism or this idea that some hydroponics engineer in some small town in egypt could wake up the in the morning and declare jihad on europe is not the sunni legal tradition. that's weird. that's cult-like. and would be rejected by, you know, the seminary, the great center of muslim law and learning. so this idea that farik had was, and the, one of the chief egyptian religious authorities wrote a reputation of him in
this regard. well the egyptian islamic jihad formed a 12-man council, tobacco infiltrated the military, it took a leaf from the book because the revolutionary command council in 1952 were young officers, former cadets. so obviously if you wanted power in egypt, one of the ways to get it would be infiltrate the officer core and make a coup. they tried to do that and had some success in getting some military men on their side. one of the eij leaders was zumur who wasn't dressed like that then, he was a physician in the upscale neighborhood in cairo. and he was from a very prominent, elite family. he was the first elite egyptian really to throw in with muslim extremism in the late 20th century. mid-20th century.
he, another group and sadat encouraged these muslim groupings on college campuses. and they gradually developed with an independent point of view, and some of them turned towards extremists ideas and they idolize d the upper egypt man who had radical tendencies and who was a recognized cleric. and he encouraged them in a radical direction. . '79 you had revolution in iran which character ieds itself as islamic revolution and the muslim brotherhood tradition in egypt really, really does not like shiite islam. it wouldn't approve of most of what happened in iran, but the idea that a muslim movement could take over the country and declare an islamic republic gave
a lot of hope and, and heart to the sunni radicals in egypt. so in 1981, some of these radical fringe movements get together and decide to take out sadat. to punish him for cozying up to the united states and making peace with israel and in hopes that then there'll be a revolution, the people will come to the streets and egypt will turn into an islamic republic like iran. and actually the evidence is that anwar, that he was cool to this project. he didn't think that egypt was necessarily in a revolutionary moment, but the more hot headed members of the group prevailed and sadat was reviewing, was in a military review, he was in the stands, and the tanks and artillery and trucks were going
by, as one of the trucks went by, one of these egyptian islamic jihad members who was in the military jumped out of the back and sprayed the review stand with machine gunfire, killed sadat, wounded a lot of other people, and hit sadat's vice president in the hand. so again, the experiment of letting political islam operate in hopes that it'll function something pliek christian democracy in germany you know that this project of trying to get it to become a responsible member of liberal society crashed and burned. and to be fair is wasn't because of the leadership of the muslim brotherhood which i maintain kept their bargain in this period, but on the fringes of the brotherhood, these other
radical groups caused the policy to crash and burn. and the way that mubarak's government, because he is the successor in 1981 dealt with this incident, i think caused a lot of trouble in the aftermath because, you know, holding terrorists, if you're the government is always chancy. because the other terrorists minded that you're holding their friends and that encourages them to do more terrorism. so the best thing is if somehow you could get them away, out of the country maybe. and so the egyptian government let most of these guys go after a while. with the understanding, i think, that they had to go fight the soviets in afghanistan. so you know the egyptian
authority said look, you guys seem to like jihad a lot. you called anwar sadat, you want to fight, we got a fight for you over here, godless communists are running over a muslim country, go make yourselves useful. and that's really the origins i think of al qaeda in some ways that the egyptian intelligence and, for its own reasons wanted to get rid of people and sent them there. you begin to get a core of arab fighters in afghanistan who collate later under osama bin laden into al qaeda. the blindshake got a visa to the united states, i hope whoever gave him that visa is not in the government anymore. i don't have any evidence that they were ever fired. charged with tried to kill anwar
sadat wants to visit the sights in new jersey. sure. come. that's weird. and there's some back story here that i don't know. but in any case, he comes to new york and surprise, becomes the head of a radical mosque in new jersey and attracts hodheaded radicals around him and maybe reaches out to the newly formed al qaeda and the early '90s and all of the sudden the world trade center has this explosion in its basement. these guys were amateurs thankfully so that they didn't realize blowing up a small truck bomb in the basement of the world trade center would produce a lot of smoke, but it didn't actually do really bad structural damage to the world trade center which was very well
put together. but i did an interview in which it said we were always thinking on how we could get bombs on planes. we wanted to fly a plane into brooklyn. these guys are very anti-semimettic. and they thought of new york as a jewish place, they wanted to attack, we wanted to fly a plane into the cia building in langley, he said that we could never figure out how to get the bombs on the planes. so not a rocket scientist. later on in the '90s, al qaeda managed to recruit some engineers who knew what the shaik did not know is that planes don't need to have bombs put on them, they are bombs. so out muslim, the islamic grouping as they called themselves involved a covenant of islamic action, violent
reestablishment of the caliphate, complete rejection of anything that looks like secular law. and they continued to carry out violent attacks in egypt all through the 1980s and '90s. as i said, often these guys when they were arrested in imprisoned in egypt would be let out on grounds that they leave the country and go to fight in afghanistan. and he was among those who had been imprisoned and who went to fight. he actually set up medical clin toik treat the wounded, the freedom fighters who were fighting the soviet occupation. and he later became involved with the saudi billionaire osama bin laden. in the '90s, you had this steady
stacato set of attacks in egypt. i remember one shootout in a restaurant. the radicals, the muslim radicals in egypt understood a lot of money came into the egyptian government from tourism, so they wanted to destroy tourism. so they would shoot tourists. typically would succeed in keeping a lot of people away. in 1995, mubarak went to want ethiopia and they tried to assassinate him there and failed. in 1997, these guys jumped the shark in egypt because they, they killed tourists, just shot them down at luxor who had come on a tourist bus, and luxor is one of the major tourists destinations in egypt. and the egyptian public really
minded this. you know, a lot of times in the united states there's this image of muslims as inherently radical or violent or whatever which has grown up, especially it has its roots in the crew saids, but it has become more vur lant in the periods since september 11th and there are billionaires who have foundations that kind of promote this, what is called islamphobia. most muslims are not violent and, in europe most terrorism nowadays in the past few years has come out of the european left or far right than it has out of muslim groups in europe, even though there are a lot in europe. so it's just not true that most muslims have this or yenation. and the -- orientation. and the egyptian public in general really sweets, kind-hearted people that really value guests and they'll give
you the shirt off their backs. you have to be careful when you're in egypt, not so say you really like something because they'll want to give it to you. and so the idea that these guys were killing their guests really wounded a lot of egyptians. and people in luxor ran to the hospitals to give blood. and after that, i think recruitment for these groups was over with. and they went into very radical decline. and then the government, you know, arrested something like 30,000 people for thought crimes. . somebody wore a beard and looked like they might some day think well of the islamic grouping or the egyptian islamic jihad. the government would put them in jail. and put all the leadership of the islamic grouping in jail, and as a result, the leadership after a few years in jail understood they were going to be there the rest of their lives and their movement was over.
they had no further success in rerecruitment. and so then they did repentence. they said we were wrong. the korun forbids this kind of violence. it's basically an document that only allows violence under certain rare conditions, self-defense and so forth. and we just, our interpretation was just in the '90s and '80s, we were like wild men. we were on something and we were wrong. and so they issued this series of pamphlets which had a big impact on the street in egypt. so while i think radicalism declined in the nile valley and mainstream egypt, out in the mail strom of afghanistan, it thrived. and it was no accident that when the u.s. was hit, it was hit
from afghanistan and not from egypt where things were going in an altogether different direction, and in fact, opinion polling seems to show there's a gradual -- not by any means majority but significant move in the younger generations of egyptians less religious secularism. that's my story of muslim extremism i would characterize it as in modern egypt and the way it fed into al qaeda. we'll talk about how it fed into al qaeda itself. let me open into other questions. y yes, michelle. give me a few seconds to get you the mic. >> do you think the current aleg
a legations that the muslim brotherhood in egypt has been overrun by al qaeda is true? >> well, i don't think it's true that the muslim brothers in egypt, between adherence and supporters -- you're talking about probably 20% of the population at thinks well or had thought well of the organization. i don't think those people are terrorists. that's crazy. whether there was a small clique at the top of the organization which still operated like the secret apparatus and behind the scenes was looking up with muslim radicals, this is what the military was alleging. it doesn't seem plausible to me but i don't know. we don't have the documents. apparently, the egyptian
military bugged mohammed morsi's offices. it may well be as the trial proceeds that transcripts will come out which are somehow damming of him in this regard. i don't know. this is the allegations. on the surface it doesn't seem plausible to me. certainly i think the steps that the military has taken are not warranted against rank and file of the muslim brothers. certainly that government of morsi was run in a very closed way. it did have secret policies. we'll have to see if any proof comes out of these accusationac. >> why do you think more radical schools of thought in islamist, i guess, jurisprudence of how the fear -- why did that gain so much popularity as opposed to
more liberal or less hard lined elements of islamic thought? >> so the question is why the more radical understanding of islam and ex-communication practices, vigilanteism had this popularity. the first thing i want to say is that i don't think it was that popular. the mainstream of egyptian society was not like that. so -- but it did have popularity in some quarters obviously. i think it was because of the structural contradictions of a post colonial society like egypt which from the late 70s the egyptian government was seen by a lot of egyptians as color raetirae collaborating to keep them down.
they didn't really do anything about that. a lot had been appointed by the government and would have been fired if they had spoken out. i think it's kind of like in any society when something is going on that the young people feel is just wrong, then you get protests and sometimes even violence. in the vietnam war period in the united states, a lot of people decided that war was wrong and then you get that and so forth. i think it was a contradiction between people's ideals and hypocritical behavior as they saw it, of their institutions. other questions. yeah. >> throughout today's lecture, the united states was rarely brought up and didn't seem as though they were too involved in any of these actions. at what point did disdain for the united states make its way into the muslim brotherhood or
at least the more militant factions? >> yeah. well, the question of the united states and the muslim brotherhood is a little bit complex because the united states's support for israel against the palestinians they had a negative view and were quite critical of it. in 2005 there were 88 muslim brothers were elected to the parliament. their parliament visits. they became junior members of the egyptian establishment. they began to develop american contacts so when mohammed morsi, was president of egypt, he had correct relations with the